She sped up and down the aisles, desperately trying to get her shopping done. Cries and screams echoed off the department store walls.
She already had bruises from previous kickings, but there would definitely be more tomorrow. Judgemental eyes stared at them. Then, one stranger approached and reached for her bawling son.
“Are you sure? I just need a couple of hours,” Rebecca Patterson begged. But there would be no help coming.
The regular babysitter was busy and any emergency options weren’t able to help. She looked at the shopping list, then at her two children, and frowned. There was no other choice.
First, her two-month-old went into the car seat. Next was her 2-year-old son.
He was entering the “no” phase, and there were plenty of “nos!” trying to get the seat belt snapped in. “We’re going to that store you like.” The promise barely calmed the boy and she jumped in the driver’s seat. “Just hang in there, baby.”
However, as they pulled into the Target parking lot, she saw the boy’s face was still frozen in a heavy frown.
He crossed his small arms and breathed in and out quickly. It was the beginning stages of a tantrum, but there was no turning back. They were lacking essentials. She grabbed a shopping cart.
With one arm, she carried her baby. The boy sat in the cart, pointing at things he wanted.
When toilet paper went in and not cookies, he started to cry. “Maybe next time,” she said, already feeling the stress build. The crying got louder. Then the annoyed glances from customers came.
Misery loves company, it seems, because she heard a squeak from her baby.
The boy’s bawling was catching. Rebecca rocked her baby and tossed in some tissues. They weren’t cookies. The boy screamed. He wobbled in his seat, grabbed the sides, and then tried to stand up. One slip and it would be a hard fall.
She grabbed him and tried to calm him, but he would have no part. It would have to be drama on the floor then.
The mom moved him to the tiles. At least this way he wouldn’t hurt himself. But he grabbed a box and threw it on the floor. “Shut that kid up,” she heard someone mutter.
The scene had degraded into an afternoon matinee of shrieks, kicking, and tears from both children.
She was also stuck in the aisle and unable to get the rest of her list done. Rebecca fought back her own tears of frustration. One woman stood at the other end, staring at them.
There had already been mutters of “brat”, “discipline”, and “never my child”. The woman walked towards them, looking determined.
Rebecca held her breath. What other comments or unwanted advice would she have to endure? The stranger swung her Luis Vuitton bag over her should and pointed to the toddler.
The woman’s face was wide-eyed and alarmed as she strode over to Rebecca and her children with purpose. Rebecca felt like she just wanted the ground to open up and swallow her.
She felt her cheeks flush and her heart begin to race. She was in no mood for a fight in the supermarket on top of the awful day she was having.
The woman was Tiffany Jones-Guillory, and she approached Rebecca. While the little boy was still kind of freaking out, Tiffany wasn’t deterred and began showing him photos of her own kids on her phone to distract him and help calm him down.
The woman asked, “Can I hold your boy?” Rebecca’s eyes screamed a pleading “yes!” What unfolded was something beautiful. Rebecca was so shocked — and relieved — that she took out her own phone and took a picture that quickly went viral.
“Do you need some help?” Tiffany asked. Rebecca felt her body flood with relief and the tears stream down her cheeks as the stranger reached for her baby.
The motherly stranger picked him up and started to rock him back and forth, humming a soothing tune. Rebecca was astounded to see that her son was finally quiet. And the compassion continued…
“She walked with me while I got the essentials needed for the day and kept hold of my toddler while he calmed down,” Rebecca said. “She saved me today moms! I am so sleep deprived and was running on empty. A little kindness and understanding goes a long way.”
Can you even imagine how tired and exhausted she was? Not to mention the fact that people were giving her dirty looks.
Tiffany walked with Rebecca as she finished her shopping.
It was such a kind gesture, and the scene was so beautiful, that she took a moment to snap another photo of the moment. The errand finished quickly with the new help, and she was finally able to go home. But then the mom realized something.
Rebecca looked at the photo again. Something was wrong here. There had been plenty of appreciation on Rebecca’s part, but the woman deserved so much more.
Rebecca posted the photo online, hoping to find out who this stranger was. It didn’t take long for Tiffany to see her face on social media and remember the moment. It was then the news got wind of the story.
Tiffany sat in front of the camera, with a warm smile and describing that evening.
It was clear she just wanted to help and never expected anything in return. She had “been there before.” It’s especially significant when people are trained to be wary of strangers and we are afraid to help each other.
“I know how it is. I’ve been there,” Tiffany explained. “I have two kids, it’s frustrating, and that baby is two months,” she said. “You have hormones going…and people are looking at you crazy, and I just wanted to help. God sent me there to help her.”
It makes you think — how many times have you seen a kid melting down and wondered why the parent wasn’t doing anything about it? Maybe they’re doing the best that they can, and they just need a little compassion. Compassion is exactly what another mom urges people to have when they see that situation.
Another mom, Aly Brothers, had her own meltdown after taking her two young boys to the grocery store to grab some milk. While that sounds simple enough, her boys had other plans, which caused Brothers to lose it a little bit and customers to thrown some shade.
“This is motherhood. No fancy filters, no good lighting, no new lipstick,” she wrote in a viral Facebook post. “It’s messy hair that’s wet from the rain, yesterday’s makeup that I was too tired to wash off, and tears. Motherhood is HARD. Single-motherhood is HARD.”
“These tears started as the cashier of Giant Eagle handed me my receipt and continued for the entire drive home,” she wrote. She went on to explain how her younger son, 20-month-old Levi, was fussy from pretty much the second they walked into the store.
Not willing to cooperate, he didn’t want to be buckled into the shopping cart, from which he started throwing things — a shoe, groceries, his mom’s wallet. “And he cried. And people stared. That was fine, I could handle that,” Brothers wrote. As if that wasn’t enough, her energetic 3-year-old son Bentley wanted to play Superman by standing on the front edge of the cart.
“I told him to hold on and stand straight. He did not. He fell off, he leaned backwards and knocked things off their displays. He leaned back and bumped a stranger,” she said.
“Then I made him get down and he walked too far ahead of me and opened all the freezer section doors telling me all the things he wanted to get. I tried to handle that. I stopped multiple times and composed myself and my children. The people in line behind me glared. The cashier glared. Everyone’s eyes were on me as if to say ‘can’t you control your own children.’ One older gentleman whispered, ‘she’s pretty young for two kids’ and I lost it.”
In her Facebook post, she went on to explain just what was going on. “I handle my kids very well. Normally, they’re great kids and I wanted to tell that guy, ‘You’ve seen them for 15 minutes in a grocery store. I’ve seen Bentley for 3 1/2 years. So I know him way better than you.
“Don’t judge me, don’t judge my kids,” she continued. “We’ve all been here. You acted like this when you were three. Be compassionate. Show kindness.”
“If you see a kid throwing a tantrum, if you see a mom on the verge of tears…please say something nice. Please don’t glare with judgement (sic),” she wrote.
“And to all moms out there having a day like mine…I see you, I know you, I love you. You are strong and you are doing just fine.” Clearly it struck a chord, as her post received more than 65,000 reactions, with other parents sharing their own stories — and how a little bit of kindness can go a long way. But what if you’re a parent in the middle of a kid meltdown?
In a perfect world, your kids would all behave like angels every single time you go to the store. There would be no tantrums, there would be no diaper blowouts, there would be no grabbing things off the shelf like they’re doing a “Supermarket Sweep” audition.
But as every parent knows, it’s going to happen. If everyone put forward one gesture a day (big or small), the world would be a happier place. And as cliché as the idea sounds, it still rings very true. What will your kindness today be?
But that’s not the only time a stranger surprised someone with their behavior. Jessica had undergone intensive military training, and it had prepared her for every situation. But when the strange figure strode toward her she seemed to forget everything she had learned. She started shaking.
What did this day and this particular flight have in store for her?
Many people find flying overwhelming. Being cramped up in a small space among other passengers with no room to get comfortable can even be frightening. Still, it is the most efficient way to travel from place to place in the shortest amount of time, which is exactly what Jessica needed. Her flight was completely booked that day, so she knew all too well that there would be no extra room for her to stretch her legs.
Little did she know, someone was about to grant her wish.
Jessica fights all the odds on a day-to-day basis to protect her country and its citizens. She is a brave military officer, and she has made enormous sacrifices to ensure that everybody is safe from threat and harm. We should all appreciate her efforts a little more.
But on this particular day, one man knew just what to do.
Due to the price of business and first-class plane tickets, they are a luxury only afforded by some, and even though we would all love to be able to travel in comfort, many of us just can’t.
Bearing this in mind, Jessica had a good idea of just how uncomfortable her flight would be, but she never imagined that she was not going to be as uncomfortable as she had initially imagined.
Jessica slung her heavy bag over her shoulder and made her way to the back of the plane. She looked at her ticket, which stated that she was to be seated in 31-B, so she still had to walk quite a way before she could sit down.
She glanced over to the spacious business class seats longingly, but she knew she could never afford them!
While Jessica was trying to find her seat, she had no idea that someone was quietly talking to the air hostess about her. She lugged her belongings down the aisle until the row of 31 seats was finally in sight. She hefted her shoulder bag into the overhead compartment and sat down, waiting for takeoff.
But ten minutes soon became fifteen, and then twenty. The plane’s takeoff was running late.
Usually, flights are delayed because of bad weather conditions, but today the sky was a clear, crystal blue. Jessica had a strange feeling that something wasn’t right about this flight, and no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t shake it. Looking for a flight attendant to ask why the flight was delayed, she was startled to see none in sight.
Then, she heard a nervous whisper from behind. Just what was going on?
Craning her neck, Jessica spotted the cabin crew and noticed that they were also acting strangely. They all rushed to a corner of the plane and huddled, speaking in furtive whispers. What on Earth was going on?
Then, Jessica realized that they had all been talking about one of the passengers, and he was moving with purpose, straight toward her.
It was obvious to Jessica that the flight attendants were talking about her. They gawked and giggled, covering their smirks with their hands. She had grown used to the whispers and stares that her uniform drew, but there was something different in the air today. And she didn’t like it one bit.
But she decided to ignore the unwanted attention, for now, but she still couldn’t help but feel on edge.
Although her muscles were tired, they knotted with tension. All of Jessica’s training in the army had given her a keen sense for trouble, and she didn’t want any today. Even while she was off duty she was always scanning her surroundings for any kind of threat, and at the first sign, her training would kick in like muscle memory.
Then, she saw him approaching.
As the man approached her, Jessica took his appearance in. He was tall, with fine features and sparkling blue eyes, immaculate in a dress suit and tie She couldn’t help but notice that he was rather handsome. The thought briefly entered her mind that he was going to ask for her number, he had a confident gait and sense of purpose — she had been approached by men like him many times.
But all her life experience and training didn’t prepare her for what he said next.
Jessica’s mind raced as the man strode toward her. It seemed like an age before he finally reached her. Then, he opened his mouth to speak, and she thought he would confirm all her suspicions — she thought she saw his intentions written on his face.
But then, he said something completely unexpected.
The tall stranger gestured to Jessica’s seat before taking a step closer. Then, he matter-of-factly informed her that her seat was taken. Jessica looked around for assistance before shaking her head, incredulous. Her eyes widened as he insisted, saying “I’m in your seat.” How dare he? she thought angrily.
What was he talking about? Now exasperated, the man rolled his eyes and said: “What does your ticket say?”
“What? No – I’m 31 B,” Jessica argued. She looked at her boarding pass again, and she was right. It was clearly printed 31-B. She wasn’t about to be bullied by this man — who did he think he was? Just what game was he playing?
She looked at the flight attendants who had gathered around her, but they just nodded their heads.
The stranger started to explain to her that, because she was a military officer, she couldn’t have that seat. Then he said that he admired her for all her hard work protecting her country, but he needed her to sit somewhere else.
Jessica listened, confused, and then she was completely blindsided.
The man, saying that he would be obliged if she took his seat in business class instead. He wanted to repay her for all her hard work. Jessica tried to refuse the man’s generous offer, but he was persistent.
Eventually, she relented and made her way down the hallway.
Jessica was incredulous at the day’s unexpected turn of events, and as she saw the large, plush seats in business class she realized just how tired her body really was.
She had been training for days on end, she felt tender everywhere, and her body craved rest.
Jessica couldn’t wait to get home so she could finally have some much-needed rest, but then the generous stranger had given her the best gift she could ever have asked for.
As she stretched her legs out in front of her and reclined, she couldn’t stop thinking about the man who had given up his seat for her.
The tall stranger had been much broader and larger than she was, and she reasoned that if she was uncomfortable in the small economy seats, he was going to be even more cramped.
She felt an overwhelming sense of guilt, so she thought carefully about how she could brighten his day.
She wondered about what she could do for the kind stranger, and then she spoke to the flight attendant. Unfortunately, it seemed as if there wasn’t much she could do as she couldn’t send him a glass of champagne from business class to economy.
She had to come up with an idea – and then she did.
Jessica could only guess at how uncomfortable the mystery man could be in his new seat, but there wasn’t much she could do about that. She could try to give him his business class seat back, but she was sure he would refuse. So she grabbed a piece of paper, attached a $20 bill, and wrote him a note.
She gave it to the stewardess and asked her to deliver it.
When the man opened up the note and read it, his eyes widened in disbelief. It read: “If everyone treated people the way you treated the servicewoman, the world would be a better place.” And the attached $20 was included so he could have a drink and a snack.
But the man refused any kind of repayment.
However, the man was quick to send another note back to Jessica. When she read it, she had no choice but to smile. Even though he wouldn’t accept her offer, he had another proposition instead. He said that he would be honored if she agreed to meet with him over dinner when their flight landed.
Was he asking her on a date? Her stomach started to flutter as she wrote her reply.
Jessica accepted the offer from the generous stranger, after all, how could she decline? It was his act of giving up his seat in business class that had made all her exhaustion melt away as she lay back and got some much-needed rest.
The pair met at a restaurant shortly after their flight landed, and Jessica never could have dreamed that that fateful flight would turn into something of a fairytale romance.
Jessica had never thought that her bad day would yield so much goodness. But the mysterious stranger hadn’t just caught Jessica’s attention, there was another passenger on the flight that day who took notice.
She snapped a picture and shared it to Facebook, where it quickly went viral.
Another passenger by the name of Jessica Titus had witnessed everything that day, and she just had to share the story on social media. She was incredibly touched by the man’s display of compassion and empathy, and so were all who read her post.
Within the space of an hour, her Facebook post had been shared over 4000 times!
Hundreds of people from all over the world commented and shared similar stories. One woman named Kate Nixon said that someone had done what the stranger had done for her military husband while he was heading back to Kansas, too.
She was so overwhelmed by the goodness of some people out there that she had to share her story.
This story about a kind stranger proves that there are good people out there, but unfortunately, we are not aware of their small gestures for others. When Jessica’s story was shared on social media the anonymous man received all the thanks and credit he deserved.
We need more people like that in the world today!